Extra points are still easy for NFL kickers. But they’re no longer automatic.
In Week One, NFL kickers went a combined 71-for-75 on the new, longer extra points, a conversion rate of 94.7 percent. That’s still very high, but it’s not automatic the way extra points used to be. Only eight extra points were missed during the 2014 regular season, with kickers making 99.3 percent of their extra points. NFL kickers have made at least 98 percent of extra points every season since 1994.
Now that extra points aren’t a sure thing, NFL teams may decide to go for two more often, although in Week One no coach took the bold step of going for two as a default position. Maybe some team should: In Week One, teams went 4-for-5 on two-point conversions, and historically two-point conversions have typically been about a 50-50 proposition. If you can make a two-point conversion 50 percent of the time and you make an extra point 95 percent of the time, you’re better off going for two most of the time.
If even one coach decides to go for two more often he kicks the extra point, that would represent a dramatic shift in football strategy that the NFL has never seen, in addition to making the game more interesting. Some coach — a coach with a good goal-line offense and a shaky kicker — should do it.